Intake of niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 through young adulthood and cognitive function in midlife: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study

Bo Qin, Pengcheng Xun, David R. Jacobs, Na Zhu, Martha L. Daviglus, Jared P. Reis, Lyn M. Steffen, Linda Van Horn, Stephen Sidney, Ka He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Epidemiologic evidence regarding niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 intake in relation to cognitive function is limited, especially in midlife. Objective: We hypothesize that higher intake of these B vitamins in young adulthood is associated with better cognition later in life. Design: This study comprised a community-based multicenter cohort of black and white men and women aged 18–30 y in 1985–1986 (year 0, i.e., baseline) from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study (n = 3136). We examined participants’ CARDIA diet history at years 0, 7, and 20 to assess nutrient intake, including dietary and supplemental B vitamins. We measured cognitive function at year 25 (mean 6 SD age: 50 6 4 y) through the use of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) for verbal memory, the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) for psychomotor speed, and a modified Stroop interference test for executive function. Higher RAVLT and DSST scores and a lower Stroop score indicated better cognitive function. We used multivariable-adjusted linear regressions to estimate mean differences in cognitive scores and 95% CIs. Results: Comparing the highest quintile with the lowest (quintile 5 compared with quintile 1), cumulative total intake of niacin was significantly associated with 3.92 more digits on the DSST (95% CI: 2.28, 5.55; P-trend, 0.01) and 1.89 points lower interference score on the Stroop test (95% CI: 23.10, 20.68; P-trend = 0.05). Total folate was associated with 2.56 more digits on the DSST (95% CI: 0.82, 4.31; P-trend = 0.01). We also found that higher intakes of vitamin B-6 (quartile 5 compared with quartile 1: 2.62; 95% CI: 0.97, 4.28; P-trend = 0.02) and vitamin B-12 (quartile 5 compared with quartile 1: 2.08; 95% CI: 0.52, 3.65; P-trend = 0.02) resulted in better psychomotor speed measured by DSST scores. Conclusion: Higher intake of B vitamins throughout young adulthood was associated with better cognitive function in midlife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1032-1040
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume106
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

Keywords

  • Cognitive function
  • Epidemiology
  • Folate
  • Middle age
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin B-6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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